Art and Conflict
Due: 4/18 by 11:59PM
Over the course of history, the destruction of art has often been a weapon of war. In class and through readings and films we will examine themes of art, power, and politics. This assignment asks you to dive more deeply and more specifically into this theme by researching and writing about a specific historical example of conflict, destruction, and its aftermath.
You will be asked to do light research on your chosen example. You will build on the assigned course content and our research to develop an interpretive argument based on specific evidence and examples, and communicate the idea clearly.
Using what we have learned in class assignments and light research of your example, write a 500-750 word essay discussing a work of art that was stolen, destroyed, or significantly altered as part of an armed struggle. Explain the site’s history and significance, the reasons for and manner of its loss or destruction, and the aftermath of its loss.
This should be written entirely in your own words. You may only use quotes if it is a direct quote that comes from a source who saw the monument when it was still standing or witnessed the destruction, and then keep it to 1-2 sentences.
You should have at least two sources for this assignment (one or both can come from the list below) Include 1-2 labeled images in your essay, and provide a Chicago-style bibliography of your sources.
Post your paper on the Turnitin Link.
Questions to consider: How and why has the destruction of art/architecture served as a weapon of war in your selected example? How does this example promote and develop your understanding of the role of art in intercultural conflict? How might this example inform your understanding of the public, religious, and collective role of art?
Choose from one of the following examples:
Destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan by the Taliban (created 6th century CE/ destroyed 2001)
Destruction of the ancient city of Palmyra by ISIS (created 1st century CE, destroyed 2015-2017)
Alteration of the Great Mosque of Cordoba (created 8th century/altered 16th century/ altered 2000s)
Destruction of the Plaza Mayor, Tenochtitlan/Construction of Plaza de la Constitution, Mexico City (created 14-15th century/destroyed & built over 16-17th century)
Destruction of Coricancha, Cusco/Construction of the Convent of Santo Domingo (created 15th/16th century, destroyed & built over 16th/17th century)
Bombing of the Mostar Bridge (built 16th Century, bombed 1993, 2004)
Destruction and Reconstruction of the Royal Castle, Warsaw (built 14th-18th centuries, destroyed 1939, rebuilt 1975)
Destruction and Preservation of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Berlin (built 1891, destroyed 1943, rebuilt 1963)
Nazi Degenerate Art Exhibition (1937-1939)
Khmer Rouge destruction of Buddhist Temples (1975)
Bombing and Memorialization of the World Trade Center (built 1973/2001-present)
Destruction of Lenin, Stalin, Saddam Statues (built 20th century/destroyed 1990-2014)
Grading Expectations and Rubric:
This assignment will be assessed and graded according to the standards of the Texas Core Curriculum. Four elements will be considered: critical thinking, communication, social responsibility, and teamwork.
Critical Thinking: Do you clearly identify the problem? Do you effectively present your ideas and evidence? Do you consider the context? Do you develop your argument in favor of your solution? Do you draw logical conclusions and explain their implications?
Communication: Does the paper clearly state its purpose? Is it organized clearly? Does it develop the content thoroughly? Does it correctly employ standard English language, spelling, and grammar?
Social Responsibility: Does your paper demonstrate understanding and awareness of the social, political, and cultural role of art as a tool of power, and potentially as a tool of reconciliation? Do you consider different perspectives regarding the issues surrounding your chosen monument?
This assignment requires that you present your research using “Chicago Style” citations. The Chicago Style format is most frequently used in art history research. Every time you make a direct or indirect reference to an article or source in your text, you must provide a numbered endnote that directs the reader to the full publication information for that source.
The rules for formatting these endnotes can be found in the published Chicago Manual of Style, and also online at: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/717/01/.
To succeed at this assignment you will need to carry out some light research on your topic.
General Resources The Rape of Europa (links on Blackboard)
Khan Academy At Risk Cultural Heritage series: https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/art-history/special-topics-art-history/arches-at-risk-cultural-heritage-education-series
Topic-Specific Resources Good resources include newspaper articles and government, museum, or other official websites. Here are some places to start:
a. Buddhas of Bamiyan https://www.mtholyoke.edu/~bhhankes/iconoclasm.html
b. Palmyra https://pages.vassar.edu/realarchaeology/2017/03/31/destruction-of-archaeological-sites-in-palmyras/
c. Great Mosque of Cordoba http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/04/10/the-reconquista-of-the-mosque-of-cordoba-spain-catholic-church-islam/
d. Tenochtitlan, Plaza Mayor http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/03/world/americas/mexico-citys-aztec-past-keeps-emerging-in-the-present.html
e. Cuzco, Coricancha
f. Mostar Bridge http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/946
g. Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church http://www.dw.com/en/rescuing-berlins-most-famous-world-war-ii-ruin/a-3570372
Kathleen James-Chakraborty “The Use of Ruins in German Postwar Church Reconstruction” in Mancini Bresnahan, Architecture and Armed Conflict: The Politics of Destruction (Routledge, 2015).
h. Nazi Degenerate Art Exhibition http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-24819441
i. Khmer Rouge and Buddhist Temples http://articles.latimes.com/1990-06-19/news/wr-232_1_khmer-rouge
j. Lenin/Stalin/Saddam https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/17/world/controversial-statues-monuments-destroyed.html?_r=0
k. World Trade Center http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/09/0913_TVsymbol.html
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